Players Health and Safety

Bean headshot St. Francis

Our focus on player health & safety 

Mavericks Soccer Club wants to ensure that our players' health and safety remains the club's highest priority. As such, we've  recently launched a new Player Health & Safety initiative.  This effort was led by a supremely qualified professional:

Dr. Meredith Bean served as a member of the club's board of directors, and currently as Club Advisor for Player Health & Safety.   Dr. Bean Meredith Bean, MD is a board certified sports medicine physician and serves as the team doctor for Cal Women’s Soccer Team (you can see her on the sidelines of home games.) She is also very familiar with our players’ experience as serious young soccer players as she grew up playing club soccer in the Bay Area before moving on to play Division 1 soccer at UCLA. Now as a physician, she treats soccer players in addition to all types of athletes and active people, and she is passionate about injury prevention. Dr. Bean sees patients at Saint Francis Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute in San Francisco and at the Center for Sports Medicine in Walnut Creek.

As advisor for Player Health and Safety, Dr. Bean provides guidance to the club and our Director of Coaching regarding injury prevention curriculum, policies around injury/recovery/return to play, and education to coaches/players/parents. She also advises the club on matters that arise in regard to player health and safety.

Please note: the club does not provide medical consultations and injured players should see a family physician or orthopedist of their choice.

Mavericks air quality policy

Mavericks Soccer Club wants to ensure that all our players and coaches can enjoy training in an environment that is safe. In recent years the club has had to cancel many practices due to poor air quality from wildfires around the state and the poor air they produce that blows into the Bay Area. The club has to make sure that it limits players exposure to this harmful air as much as possible. We understand that everyone wants to be on the fields training, sometimes there can be a tendency to ignore some of the harmful factors especially if we haven't been on the fields for a few days.   

The club will be enforcing a strict air quality policy for all players and coaches to abide by. This policy will also allow families to know when practices will likely be canceled due to poor air quality quickly and easily, without waiting for an official message from the club. All this will hopefully help with planning when there is a practice cancellation.

Mavericks Soccer Club Air Quality Policy

Mini Mavericks (U8) - U13 (2009)

  • If the Air Quality Index rate is above 100, all practices will be canceled, due to the sensitivity of younger players in these conditions.
  • If the Air Quality Index rate is between 50-100 practices will go ahead under reduced training conditions (limiting running and other exertions)
  • If the Air Quality Index rate is between 0-50, there will be no conditions placed on training.

U14 (2008) - U19 (2003)

  • If the Air Quality Index is above 150, all Mavericks practices are canceled.
  • If the Air Quality Index rate is between 101-150 practice will go ahead under very reduced training conditions (limiting running and other exertions)
  • The closer the Air Quality Index rate is to 150 the more reduced the training will be.

Note: If any Mavericks player suffers from asthma or any other pulmonary/lung conditions a doctor must be consulted before training in these types of conditions.

Parental Discretion - A parent or player has full discretion to prevent their son/daughter/themselves from attending Mavericks training when the club implements its air quality policy. There will be no penalty placed on any player not attending practice when the club implements the air quality procedure.

Finally - If conditions are improving throughout the day the club will make a final decision regarding training at the following times (below), to give families sufficient time to plan accordingly. Once a decision has been made it will be final.

  • Final decisions (if required) will be made at 2:30 pm for the 4 pm training slot
  • Final decisions (if required) will be made at 4 pm for the 5:30 pm training slot

To check the current air quality index that will be used in determining training conditions, please click here.

Mavericks soccer club return to play policy (non concussion)

During the soccer season, there will inevitably times when players within the club sustain injuries. The club has a responsibility to the players, coaches, and families to make sure that players returning from an injury are given to time and proper reintroduction to full-time play.

Mavericks Soccer Club places a high priority on the health and safety of the players. When a player is returning from an injury, the transition back to play is the most critical period in determining their safe and successful return to soccer. These steps are in place to help guide that process.


A. If a player has sustained an injury requiring medical attention, both of the following are required before the coach may allow the player to return to play:

1)    a release note from the physician handed to the Director of Coaching

2)    the player must state that he or she is ready to return to play


B. Once a player has satisfied the above requirements, she/he will be eased back to full participation in a gradual manner which includes:

1)    testing light activity first

2)    limiting the duration of running/playing in relation to how long the player has been out and his/her current condition, then gradually progressing

3)    If symptoms recur, then the player may not progress, and symptoms must resolve prior to resuming prior activity level


C. Return to match play:

1)    The player must have a minimum of one practice session during which the player was able to play at full intensity without recurrence of symptoms

2)    The duration of playing time during the match(es) will be limited until he/she is back to full condition


The coaches have specific guidelines to follow for this process.
There are some exceptions which require approval from the DOC and/or medical advisor.
Return-to-play after a concussion is separate from this process and has a very specific protocol.

Head injury policy

Mavericks Soccer Club follows the head injury prevention and treatment guidelines outlined by US Soccer and Norcal Premier which include.


  • No heading policy for all Mavericks Soccer Club players U11 and younger
  • No "re-entry" policy for players who are removed from a game due to a suspected head injury
  • Change in NPL substitution rules to allow for the evaluation of head injuries


U11 and Below no Heading Rule

Norcal Premier has implemented a no heading rule for all U11 and younger players. Mavericks Soccer Club also follows recommendations from US Soccer on heading in younger age groups

Heading Recommendations

All players ages 10 and younger there will be no heading during training or games. For players ages 11-13 heading should be limited to a maximum of 30 minuets per week wth no more than 15-20 head per players, per week.

Heading During Games

Game rules have been slightly adjusted to accommodate the new younger players heading recommendations. When a player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect freekick will be awarded to the opposing team of the location of the offense. If the deliberate header occurs in the goal box, the indirect free kick will be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred. If a player does not deliberately head the ball, then play shall continue.

No Re-Entry Protocol

In accordance with US Soccer return to play guidelines, any player removed from the field for a suspected head injury will not be allowed to return to the field of play unless cleared by a Healthcare Professional.  This means that any player for whom the coach is called onto the field will have to leave the field and will not be allowed to return unless they have been evaluated and cleared by a Certified Healthcare Professional

Mavericks Soccer Club will require written documentation from a licensed health care professional such as a certified Athletic Trainer or physician, before being allowed to return to training and games.

NPL Substitution Rule Change

A Substitution to remove a player suspected to have a head injury shall not count against the re-entry rules in NPL. Thus the player entering the game for the injured player many enter without it counting to his/her re-entry count, and the player that has been removed may re-enter the (if cleared by a healthcare professional) for the orginal subtitute.

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Tips for hydration

(Adapted from US Youth Soccer FUEL Soccer website)

Proper hydration requires a full-day commitment. An athlete cannot expect to perform at his or her highest level if he or she has not properly hydrated. Hydration is particularly important on hot days.

Boys ages 14 to 18 should be drinking 11 cups of water a day. Girls in the same age group should drink at least eight. A soccer player should drink eight to 16 fluid ounces of water two hours before practice and another eight ounces 15 to 30 minutes before the training session. (Cut these amounts by about half for children weighing less than 90 pounds.)

During practice, a player should drink four to eight ounces (depending on child’s weight) every 15 to 20 minutes. After practice, he or she should replenish with 24 fluid ounces for every pound lost.

An easy way to monitor hydration status is by assessing urine color. The goal for athletes should be to have pale, lemonade-color urine. If the urine is darker, that is an indication of under-hydration and should signal the athlete to drink more fluids.

Symptoms of dehydration include noticeable thirst, irritability, fatigue, weakness, nausea, headache, cramping, dizziness, lightheadedness, difficulty paying attention and decreased performance.

Fueling on game day

By Allison Kreimeier, MS, RD, CSSD (from US Youth Soccer FUEL Soccer website)

  1. Fuel early. Youth soccer players often skip breakfast. Eating breakfast has shown positive effects on the body for those of all ages. If a young player skips out on breakfast, he or she is skipping out on essential nutrients and calories to reach the daily energy needs to perform at the highest level and manage weight.
  2. Eat a pre-game meal. Three to four hours before the game is prime time to fill up the body’s energy tank. This meal should be high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat. Two examples of a great pre-game meal include spaghetti with a marinara ground turkey sauce, a roll, and green beans. Another is an herb-baked chicken breast with rice or baked potato, a roll, and carrots. Consider this breakdown when you’re making a pregame meal: 50 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent vegetables, 25percent protein. Don’t forget the fluids!
  3. Halftime intake. This is a good time to recharge the body for the second half of the game. Sports drinks offer fluid and carbohydrate replacement as well as electrolytes. Pretzels, bananas, fruit cups, Rice Krispies treats, or granola bars are great choices to provide carbohydrates that quickly digest and are low in fiber and fat to avoid potential gastrointestinal discomfort.
  4. Don’t ignore the post-game. A post-game meal and/or beverage is often overlooked. At this point, the body is running very low on energy and needs to be refueled for optimal recovery. Try a deli or grilled chicken sandwich, a chicken burrito with rice, beans, and veggies, or even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with chocolate milk. Replacing fluids is key, too!

Fueling on the road

(Adapted from Erika Sharp, RD, CSSD, “10 things families can do to stay healthy while on the road” FUEL Soccer website)

BRING A WATER BOTTLE. Hydration is a huge part of athletic performance and safety, so it makes sense that this is Number 1. Pack a refillable water bottle (ideally with some insulation) so you can fill up often.

PACK A COOLER. Game days and especially tournaments turn into very long days, typically in warm environments. Pack a cooler to keep your beverages cold and snacks safe from food-borne illnesses.

REQUEST A ROOM WITH A FRIDGE AND MICROWAVE. As simple as this sounds, most hotel rooms do not have these as standard. Call ahead and make sure you have these in your room.

RESEARCH THE AREA. Locate and identify the following within a 10-minute drive from your hotel or soccer complex for those last-minute trips:

  • Grocery Markets, Healthy Food Stores
  • Gas Stations
  • Restaurants, Cafes
  • A successful game day always starts with a solid breakfast and most youths have their go-to foods or must-have choices. Make sure you pack these with you or locate a place where you can get a complete breakfast for your stars. Aim for a lean protein, healthy fat (avocado, nut butter, nuts/seeds), lots of grains/starches (cereal, bagels, oatmeal), and fruit(dried, fresh, or as juice). Grains, starches, and fruit are your child’s fuel so make sure they load up on their favorites in a natural/unprocessed way to give them energy all day long.
  • SNACKS! SNACKS! SNACKS! This is a big one and can come in many different forms. It is important to have options depending on what mood, mindset or needs your athlete has. Pre-packaged snacks are readily available at grocery stores and most gas stations. Stock up on these easy grab-n-go items, like cheese sticks, yogurt, pretzels, bars (protein and granola), fruit cups, apple sauce, beef jerky, and trail mix. Whole fruit is great because it comes in its own wrapper, popular choices are grapes, apples, oranges, and bananas. Halftime or between games are key opportunities to add more fuel or start the recovery process. Peanut butter balls, PB&Js, and sandwiches are quick ways to get them ready for their next move.
  • STAY AWAY FROM FATTY FOODS. These are readily available at the complex and what hungry/under-fueled bodies crave since they pack a ton of calories in a small bite. These foods digest slowly and leave you feeling sluggish, which doesn't turn into a ‘W’ at the end of the day. Stay away from fast-food restaurants!
  • RECOVERY ITEMS. These days you hear that performance is really all about how well you recover. Make sure you have the 3 “R’s” to plan for recovery.
  • Re-fuel your mind and body with carbohydrates.
  • Re-build your muscles and immune system with protein.
  • Re-hydrate your body with fluids.
  • A quick way to accomplish all three is chocolate milk, which can be found at all gas stations or even purchased as a shelf- stable option and then chilled in your cooler.

Back-to-School, sleep & sports

Did you know that how much you sleep affects your risk of getting injured?

Adolescent athletes who regularly got less than 8 hours of sleep per night had almost twice the injury rate of those who regularly slept 8 hours or more (Milewski, et al 2014)

The amount of sleep you get also affects your on-field performance.

Multiple studies have also shown that getting the recommended amount of sleep improves sport-specific performance.

This is especially important for families to consider during back-to-school time when kids may have to get up earlier than during summer break and may not be getting enough sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following amounts of sleep by age group:


  • Ages 6-13:  9-11 hours of sleep per night
  • Ages 14-18:  8-10 hours of sleep per night
  • Adults 18-64: 7-9 hours of sleep per night


Check out these tips to optimize your sleep and improve your athletic performance as well as decrease your risk of injury:


  • Get the recommended amount of sleep every night, not just the night before a game.
  • Avoid mobile devices, TV, computers, and video games one hour before bed. The light emitted from these devices is stimulating to the brain and can prevent sleep.*
  • Prioritize a 20-30 minute routine before bed. Reading, stretching, yoga. Dim the lights as it gets closer to bedtime.
  • Set an alarm 30-60 minutes before planned bedtime to start winding down the day.
  • Make your bedroom like a cave. A dark, quiet and cool environment helps sleep.


So Mavericks, set aside time this weekend to make a specific sleep plan with your family!


*Check out these links for interesting info about electronic devices and sleep:


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